From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor
What is Survivorship?
Survivorship refers to life after cancer treatment.
Who is a Cancer Survivor?
Patients who have finished treatment for cancer and have been told by their doctor(s) that they are free of cancer are often called “cancer survivors” Congratulations if that’s you or someone close to you who you have supported as they navigate through their cancer treatment! We trust you feel positive and optimistic, having reached this important milestone in your cancer journey.
It is more common these days that people diagnosed with cancer live for many years after their cancer diagnosis. This calls for more attention to be given to caring for and understanding cancer survivors’ needs.
Your family, friends and work colleagues may also find it useful to read this information. It can help them to understand that although your treatment is finished, you could still face some challenging times. Their continuing love and support will help you cope. The challenges you may face include coping with side-effects such as fatigue, returning to work, resuming your normal life and undergoing routine health monitoring.
Patricia of Busselton says “I found I had a changed outlook on life. I was more philosophical and worried less about things I have no control over. My family found the “new” me a bit hard to deal with”.
Returning to Normal
Immediately after finishing treatment some patients experience a feeling of isolation. Undergoing treatment may have occupied large amount of your time and you may now experience a feeling of uncertainty or even loss. Be reassured that many cancer survivors describe this feeling and so you are not alone – with time and readjustment life does return to normal. It may be beneficial to meet with other people in a similar situation. There are details on this website for support groups in the South-West or you can contact the Cancer Council helpline 13 11 20 for information about Cancer Connect, a service to put you in touch with someone by phone. http://cancerconnect.com/
Kath of Harvey says “They reckon that you really know who your friends are when you’re ill but I had some really good friends who simply didn’t cope with my illness. I didn’t hold that against them, we’re still good friends even though I didn’t see much of them during the chemo. My husband was my rock”.